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Senior Heavy Hilltoppers Hope For Big Season

on November 16, 2017 - 6:49am
The Los Alamos Hilltopper Boys basketball team prepares for the 2017-18 season in the Auxiliary Gym at Los Alamos High School during a recent practice. Photo by John McHale/ladailypost.com​
 
Head Coach Michael Kluk instructs his varsity team during a recent practice. Photo by John McHale/ladailypost.com​
 
By RJ Montaño
Los Alamos Daily Post

rjmontano@ladailypost.com
 
Schedule:
7 p.m. Nov. 21 at Valencia   
7 p.m. Nov. 28 at Bernalillo   
7 p.m. Dec. 1 at Los Alamos; 'Toppers play against St. Michael’s   
Dec. 7-9 Belen Hub City Tournament
7 p.m. Dec. 14 at St. Pius   
7 p.m. Dec. 15 at Eldorado   
Dec. 28-30 Roswell Poe Corn Tournament
7 p.m. Jan. 2 at Los Alamos; 'Toppers play agasint Pojoaque    
7 p.m. Jan. 5 at Los Alamos; 'Toppers play against Belen       
7 p.m. Jan. 6 at Santa Fe   
7 p.m. Jan. 9 at Los Alamos; 'Toppers play against Taos
7 p.m. Jan. 12 at Los Alamos; 'Toppers play against Artesia   
4 p.m. Jan. 13 at Los Alamos; 'Toppers play against Lovington   
7 p.m. Jan. 17 at Del Norte   
6:30 p.m. Jan. 19 at Los Alamos; 'Toppers play against Goddard   
7 p.m. Jan. 20 at  Los Alamos; 'Toppers play against Academy   
7 p.m. Jan. 26 at Española   
7 p.m. Jan. 31 at Los Alamos; 'Toppers play against Capital       
7 p.m. Feb. 3 at Los Alamos; 'Toppers play against Del Norte   
7 p.m. Feb. 6 at Academy   
7 p.m. Feb. 14 at Los Alamos; 'Toppers play against Española   
7 p.m. Feb. 17 at Capital   
 
Players to watch:
Senior PG Antonio Trujillo, Senior PG Ramon Roybal, Senior G Jack Stewart, Senior PF Troy Hammock, Senior F Michael Naranjo, Senior C Ivan Balakirev  
 
Outlook:
The Los Alamos Hilltopper boys’ basketball team will have eight seniors on its roster when they tip off the season Nov. 21 at Valencia. The experience, leadership and maturity of this team are what head coach Michael Kluk is banking on this season.
 
“We’re senior-heavy, we’re experienced. I feel good that we will be competitive with anybody,” Kluk said during practice.
 
A tough schedule awaits the ‘Toppers with several match-ups against the state’s best schools, including a trip to Roswell to play in the always competitive Poe Corn Tournament as well as the Belen Hub City Tournament. Back to back games against St. Pius and 6-A title contender Eldorado on the road round out a tough December slate.
 
The ‘Toppers also will host southern New Mexico teams Artesia, Lovington and Goddard. This will be the only game in Northern New Mexico for Lovington.
 
“We try to play a tough schedule that will get us ready for district… Española will be tough, they have more seniors than us. Capital will be tough, Del Norte is always tough, but I think we can compete with anybody,” Kluk said about his schedule.
 
The ‘Toppers will have a lot of size, speed, and athleticism this season and people can expect to see the team use that to their advantage.
 
“We’ll push the ball up the floor, we’ll pressure a bit on defense, and try to use our size at guard,” Kluk said about the style of play he expects from Los Alamos.
The first home game is 7 p.m.  Dec. 1, when the Hilltoppers take on St. Michaels in Griffith Gym.
 
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